Saturday, 17 February 2018

Rough Ride by Kristen Ashley #ChaosMC #novella #1001darknights #bookreview #trailer #excerpt @InkSlingerPR @KristenAshley68

   

 

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley comes a new story in her Chaos series…

 

   

 

About ROUGH RIDE:

 

Rosalie Holloway put it all on the line for the Chaos Motorcycle Club.

 

Informing to Chaos on their rival club—her man’s club, Bounty—Rosalie knows the stakes. And she pays them when her man, who she was hoping to scare straight, finds out she’s betrayed him and he delivers her to his brothers to mete out their form of justice.

 

But really, Rosie has long been denying that, as she drifted away from her Bounty, she’s been falling in love with Everett “Snapper” Kavanagh, a Chaos brother. Snap is the biker-boy-next door with the snowy blue eyes, quiet confidence and sweet disposition who was supposed to keep her safe…and fell down on that job.

 

For Snapper, it’s always been Rosalie, from the first time he saw her at the Chaos Compound. He’s just been waiting for a clear shot. But he didn’t want to get it after his Rosie was left bleeding, beat down and broken by Bounty on a cement warehouse floor.

 

With Rosalie a casualty of an ongoing war, Snapper has to guide her to trust him, take a shot with him, build a them…

 

And fold his woman firmly in the family that is Chaos.

 

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

   

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon Canada

 

 

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 Excerpt
He spit on me.
I felt it land on the side of my chin and slide down.
I didn’t move to wipe it away.
I couldn’t.
Lying on my side, curled into a ball, the pain screamed through me. All of it—and there was a lot of it—demanding attention, I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t think, couldn’t move in case it got worse. I couldn’t do anything but lie there and pray that it was over.
It wasn’t.
He bent over me, grabbed my hair, yanked it back, and I felt his hot breath hit my face.
“See if he wants you now, you stupid bitch,” he hissed.
He let my hair go and I felt him retreat, but he still wasn’t done
He kicked me so hard with his foot in its heavy motorcycle boot, my body slid across the cement.
I was too far gone even to grunt.
I felt something bounce off my hip, clatter to the floor, and then his voice came back, this time from further away.
“There you go, baby,” he drawled. “Your line to Chaos. We’re done with you. I’m done with you. Now they can have you.”
I heard boots on cement, more than just his, his Bounty brothers in the club. I sustained a couple more kicks as they passed. One of them grabbed the underside of my jaw and shoved my head back into the cement, also spitting, his hitting my neck.
And then they were gone.
I lay there, my focus on breathing and continuing to do it even though each breath was not only an effort but an agony. The fear I’d felt early when he took me, how he’d taken me, the way he’d handled me and I knew he’d figured it out, had dissipated as pain took its place. Now, the fear was returning that they’d come back and dish out more.
He’d come back.
Throttle.


   








Source: eARC for Honest Review Courtesy of Inkslinger Pr
Genre: MC Contemporary Romance
Part #4.5 of an ongoing series


My Rough Ride Review . . . 

We first met Rosalie in Own the Wind when she was with Shy before he got with Tabby.   At the end of Own the Wind, we think Rosalie has moved on from Shy and Chaos.  During the time between the end of Own the Wind and Rough Ride Rosalie had moved on with another biker named Beck and another MC.  

Everett “Snapper” Kavanagh, I have to admit his character is a bit vague in my memory bank,  it's somewhere in my memory bank that Snap had a thing for Rosalie but it's not at the forefront of my mind.  However, we find out very quickly what Rosalie means to Snapper after Rosalie is put in danger.  

After the negative part of the MC world enters into Rosalie's world she's done with that world.  After this event she also realized why she is so drawn to the MC boys and what void it is filling for her.  Rosalie is determined to get away from the MC, but Chaos always takes care of one of their own.  

Snapper has a bit of work to convince Rosalie to take a leap on him and come back into the fold. 

"Life, Rosie," he said gently, " is not goin' it alone.  It's about finding the right people to share it with who will make it better when it's good and be there to hold you steady when it's not."
 
I have to admit that this is the first time I will EVER say this about a Kristen Ashley book,  but I found this novella too quick paced for me.  That often can come up for me with other novellas but that has never ever came up in the same sentence with Kristen Ashley novella or not.

It has been quite awhile since I was in the Chaos world, but normally when I pick up a book within a series I can catch up when the author throws some summaries and reminder points within the story.  But this time I felt like that was missing a bit and I felt quite lost with all the nuances of the Chaos world.  Sure I remember all the past characters but the details of the war are a bit rusty for me and even after reading this they still are.   I think with this novella it's assumed that we are up to date current with all that is Chaos.  So if you are not, like myself then some details with by hazy for you.  Heck maybe this is just another reason to re-read or listen to the first books within the series.  :)

Once I brush up on all the missing details of Chaos, then I will be ready this summer of 2018 where we get the next book within this series: Wild Like the Wind.  I'm super pumped for this one, can't wait for Hound's story and to have more from Chaos.

3 . 5 Dreams can come true thumbs up!

thumbs upthumbs upthumbs up  . 5

Lauren










Kristen Ashley’s ROUGH RIDE – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:
February 14th
Agents of Romance – Review & Excerpt
Bambi Unbridled – Review & Excerpt
Crystal's Book World – Review & Excerpt
I'm A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt
Jezabell Girl and Friends – Review & Excerpt
Marieke’s Books – Review & Excerpt
Sweet Addiction Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt
February 15th
All romance reviews – Review & Excerpt
Blushing babes are up all night – Review & Excerpt
Edgy Reviews – Review
Garden of REden – Review
iScream Books Blog – Review & Excerpt
Read more sleep less – Review & Excerpt
Three chicks and their books – Review & Excerpt
Under The Covers Book Lovers – Review & Excerpt
February 16th
Bookgasms Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Melinda Barrera – Review & Excerpt
Night Session Reader – Review & Excerpt
Queenzany – Review & Excerpt
Red Cheeks Reads – Review
The Fairest of All Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
February 17th
Book Twins Reviews – Review & Excerpt
KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt
Live Read and Breathe – Review & Excerpt
Mustreadbooksordie – Review
Nose Stuck in a Book – Review & Excerpt
Random Book Muses – Review
February 18th
Alii's Book Jungle – Review & Excerpt
Love Between the Sheets – Review & Excerpt
Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt
Two Book Pushers – Review & Excerpt
February 19th
Book Reader Chronicles – Review & Excerpt
Lit. 4 Ladies – Review & Excerpt
Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt
Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt
Sizzling Pages Romance Reviews – Review & Excerpt
The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt
Wicked Reads – Review & Excerpt
February 20th
Always Books – Review & Excerpt
BFD Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Disheveled Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt
Relentless Romance – Review & Excerpt
Vanilla & Spice Books – Review & Excerpt
February 21st
Feel the Book – Excerpt
Jax's Book Magic – Excerpt
Love Notes Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
February 22nd
Books chocolate and lipgloss – Review & Excerpt
Desert Divas Book Addiction – Review & Excerpt
Literary Misfit – Review & Excerpt
TBR Book Blog – Excerpt
The Book Enthusiast – Review & Excerpt
February 23rd
Angie and Jessica's Dreamy Reads – Review & Excerpt
Books to Breathe – Review & Excerpt
OMGReads – Review & Excerpt
TDC Book Reviews – Excerpt
The Book Junkie – Review & Excerpt


     


About Kristen Ashley: 
 
 Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn't taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen's Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning. 
 
Nothing's changed. 
 
 Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she's blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched). 
 
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up. 
 
And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.



   

Thursday, 15 February 2018

The Wrong Kind of Love by Lexi Ryan #bookreview #excerpt #teasers

2018-SBPRBANNER-TWKOL-BT

The Wrong Kind of Love by Lexi Ryan Publication Date: February 12th, 2018 Genre: Contemporary Romance

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From New York Times bestseller Lexi Ryan comes a sexy new standalone romance novel about a runaway bride, a single dad who’s sworn off love, and the kind of family secrets that can threaten to break even the deepest bonds.  

***  

You never forget your wedding day. Or the moment your twin sister pukes on your bouquet and confesses she’s pregnant . . . with your fiancé’s baby.

I wanted to get away, to hide until my heart mended. I found myself in a strange town with a mysterious stranger whose talented mouth and hands almost made me forget it was supposed to be my wedding night.  

Afraid to go home to face my broken life, I pretend to be my twin so I can take her job in Jackson Harbor caring for a six-year-old girl. Imagine my surprise when I find out my new boss is my mysterious stranger—Dr. Ethan Jackson.

  I never meant for Ethan to discover my secrets. I never meant for them to matter. But the longer I work with him and his sweet daughter, the harder I fall, and the clearer it becomes that I’m not the only one carrying a secret that could tear us apart.  

Get ready to fall for the boys of Jackson Harbor in Lexi Ryan’s sexy new contemporary romance series. These books can all be read as standalones, but you’ll enjoy reading them as a series! 


  TWKOL-AN

Read Today!

 
blog tour (9)


Excerpt:
“Did somebody hurt you?” My gut knots with the question. You can’t save her, Ethan.
“You could say that.”
I step forward. Maybe that’s why she’s here on this impulsive visit to Jackson Harbor. Maybe she’s running from someone, escaping a home that’s not safe. “Do you have somewhere safe to go?”
“It’s not that kind of hurt,” she whispers. She swallows, and her gaze dips to my mouth. “Why are you so sad?”
Because you remind me of Elena. Because I couldn’t walk away from her either. “I’m just worried about you.” I don’t know if I step closer or if gravity pulls me that way, but in a breath, she’s at my fingertips and my thighs brush her knees.
“Will you do me a favor?” she asks, her attention still on my lips.
“What?”
“Will you kiss me?”
“Nic . . .” I wait for the excuses to find their way onto my tongue, but they don’t, and I realize I don’t want an excuse to walk away from her. My whole body is warm and my fingers itch to touch her. The only thing I want is my mouth on hers. I want to taste her joy and sadness. I want to know how it feels to have that body pressed against mine.
I’m silent a beat too long, and she winces. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be. It’s not that I don’t want to, but you’re vulnerable.”
“Are you always so noble?”
“If you think my thoughts are noble right now, you’re even more naïve than I feared.” I lean my forehead against hers. Christ. Who am I kidding? She’s asking me to do something I’ve been thinking about since I first laid eyes on her. I couldn’t deny her if I wanted to, and I don’t want to. Not even a little.
I cup her face in my hand and run my thumb along her jaw.
She slides a hand behind my neck. “I like the way you look at me. You make me feel sexy. Wanted.”
“Who made you feel like you weren’t?”
“A mistake.”
“Then he didn’t deserve you.” I lower my mouth to hers, telling myself the kiss will be brief, that I won’t get carried away. But then her other hand joins the first behind my neck, and her breasts press against my chest. Her thighs part, and I step between them in my instinctive need to be closer. A soft moan slips from her lips as our mouths connect.
This girl kisses like she does everything else—with unabashed emotion. She doesn’t hide a thing she’s feeling, and I’m hard even before her mouth opens under mine and our tongues sweep across each other.
I thread one hand into her hair and slide the other up her bare leg, my fingers curling into the flesh of her hip while my thumb strokes her inner thigh. Her skirt is bunched around her waist, and it would be so easy to follow this soft skin up and find her panties. She’s making the sexiest sounds, and I’m dying to touch her, to find out if she’s as turned on as she sounds, but I keep my hand where it is and give her the kiss she asked for. I offer the evidence that she’s sexy and desirable, no matter what some asshole made her think.
The Wrong Kind of Love © 2018 by Lexi Ryan


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Meet Lexi:
Lexi Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of emotional romance that sizzles. A former academic and English professor, Lexi considers herself the luckiest girl around to make a living through storytelling. She loves spending time with her crazy kids, weightlifting, ice cream, swoony heroes, and vodka martinis.
Lexi lives in Indiana with her husband, two children, and a spoiled dog. You can find her at her website: www.lexiryan.com 

Connect with Lexi:


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36978559-the-wrong-kind-of-love?ac=1&from_search=true


Source: eARC for Honest Review Courtesy of Social Butterfly PR
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Part 1 in a new series


My The Wrong Kind of Love Review . . .

It has been forever since I read anything from Lexi Ryan and what a mistake that was.  I forgot how heartfelt and beautiful her books are.

Nicole has always been chasing for the one.  Now at her wedding she finally thinks she's found it until her twin sister pukes on her and admits she's pregnant with her soon to be husband.    No where to go, Nic runs to take over her twin's life as an escape as her sister steps into hers.

While escaping she meets a sexy stranger whom she has one hot night with.  What she didn't expect was for him to be her new boss.  Ethan Jackson is half a man stuck in his past.   He doesn't want a relationship but there is something about a new stranger that comes to his town.  After his brothers convince him to go for it,  he takes the chance but comes face to face with regret when she shows up on his doorstep.

I liked both Nic and Ethan, separate and together.  They both had their own issues but together they balanced each other out.   The emotional topic that takes place in this book is important and should be talked about more often and more freely than it is currently.   Lexi Ryan did a great job with this topic from different POV's and different aspects of the disease.

"Does your wimpy little heart hurt any less since you did it yourself?"

Both Ethan and Nic had secrets and when the truth comes out they both had to deal with what came with it.

"You sent him away because you don't need him.  You want him.  The difference is how I know he's the one."

I quite adored this story and can NOT wait for more from this Jackson family. 

4 Second Chances thumbs up!

thumbs upthumbs upthumbs upthumbs up

Lauren












Forget Me Not by Brooke Blaine #bookreview #MMromance #chapter1 #unforgettableduet

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Experience the heartbreakingly beautiful journey of Ollie & Reid in…

 

Forget Me Not, the first all-new contemporary MM Romance in The Unforgettable Duet, from Brooke Blaine is available NOW! 

 

FMN-Full-FINAL


Three sugars, two creamers.
That’s how you took your coffee every morning at Joe’s Grab ’N Go.
But you don’t remember that.
You don’t remember anything.
Anything, that is, except me…
That day…
And the tragedy that catapulted us together.



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37905033-forget-me-not?ac=1&from_search=true



Source: eARC for Honest Review courtesy of Social Butterfly PR
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Part 1 of 2


My Forget Me Not Review . . . 

After reading A Little but Like Love by Brooke Blaine, when this duet came available I jumped at the opportunity to read it and fall in love with Ollie and Reid. 

Ollie, sweet Ollie.  Just wants to love, but its not always easy.  Sometimes loving from a far is easier.   Ollie has a crush on the straight frequent coffee store visitor that he sees daily on his ambulance shifts.   For him this crush is safe, because there is no chance anything can happen.

However, on one day things change and they start up a conversation.  Which leaves a spring in Ollie's step until a fateful twist happens causing Ollie's job and his worst nightmare to collide.

After a tragic accident Reid is left with gaps in his memory, however one thing he does remember is Ollie.   After this tragedy they start to become friends and more.  However, things don't always go smoothly, especially for Ollie which is the reason he's scared of getting hurt to start with.

Is there love strong enough?  Only time will tell.

I absolutely adored Ollie and Reid.  I'm so rooting for them.  Fingers crossed all goes well for these two and Ollie's fears don't come to be truth.

Remember Me When can't come soon enough.  I'm DYING to find out what happens with Ollie and Reid after the cliffhanger we were left with in Forget Me Not.

4 Love for the Win thumbs up!

thumbs upthumbs upthumbs upthumbs up

Lauren






CHAPTER ONE
“IT’S MONDAY, AND you know what that means,” Mike said as he cut off Big Bertha’s engine and looked over at me expectantly.  
I patted my pants pocket to make sure I’d shoved my wallet inside before we’d headed out this morning, and when I felt the outline of the trifold, I nodded. “Yep. Extra-bold coffee comin’ up.” As I popped open the passenger-side door, Mike’s hand landed firmly on my arm, halting me before I could get out of the ambulance, and I looked back at him over my shoulder.
  “It means don’t be a chickenshit, Ollie, that’s what it means.”
 Lifting my eyebrows, I glanced around, searching for whoever it was Mike thought he was talking to, and when he read my quizzical expression, he snorted. 
  “Yeah, that means you,” he said.  
“You callin’ me out?” 
  “Damn right I am.”  
I shook my head. “I’m not a chickenshit, and you know it.”  
Mike shrugged and let go of my arm. “Fine. Prove it.”
 “I can’t do that.” 
  “You can. You just won’t.”  
Yeah, whatever, he had me there. Something always held me back from saying much more than hello to the guy in the fitted chinos and starched collared shirt and tie that I saw most mornings in the coffee aisle at Joe’s Grab ’N Go, and Mike never could resist an opportunity to rib me for it. I never should’ve told him about my crush in the first damn place, but being my best friend as well as my work partner meant we tended to overshare in the time between calls.
 “He’s straight, Mike. Leave it alone, huh?”
 “You don’t know that for sure.”
 I picked up a container of mints and shook a couple into my mouth before tossing it back in the console. “Trust me. I know.”
 “You ask him since the last time I saw you?”
 Rolling my eyes, I ignored his question and pushed open my door. “You want that coffee or not?”
  “Mhmm. The date for you, too.”
 “Jesus,” I muttered, slamming the door before he could make any other requests. I could hear him chuckling behind me as he got out to pump the gas. And out of the corner of my eye, a flash of red pulling into a parking spot had my heart beating a bit faster. It was ridiculous that I’d even wonder for a second if I’d see him, since hardly a weekday had gone by in four months when I hadn’t. But that flutter of anticipation still sent a thrill through me, the handful of minutes seeing him every morning the highlight of my day.  
That’s it. I need to get my damn life back. Working all these overtime shifts to pick up some extra cash over the holidays—and giving the guys with families some time off—had sent my extracurricular activities into a tailspin. If I didn’t get laid soon, I’d crash and burn. Or, worse, hit on the straight guy. 
  “Hey, Ollie,” Mike called out, and I paused with my hand on the door to the Grab ’N Go before moving aside to let the woman behind me pass through. When I turned around, a mischievous grin played on his lips as he inserted the gas pump into Big Bertha’s tank and began to hip-thrust.  
Oh for the love of— 
“And while you’re at it, maybe grab me one of those apple fritters, would ya? And a soda for later?”
  So much for New Year’s resolutions, I thought. That had lasted less than a week. Not that I could blame him when it came to the tempting basket of freshly baked goods that sat by Joe’s register every morning—even I had a hard time passing on those. Still, Mike had wanted to lose the twenty pounds that had crept up since Halloween and made me swear I’d keep him in check.
 “You sure you wanna do that?” I asked.
  Mike looked pointedly over at the red Mazda3 and his smile grew. “Life’s too short to pass on the good stuff, wouldn’t you say?”
 That fucker. I shook my head and shot a glare his way, and then I went inside, determined now to buy out the apple fritters and personally stuff ’em down his meddling throat.  
“Morning, Oliver,” Joe greeted me from behind the counter where he was ringing up a customer, and I smiled his way before grabbing a handheld basket and heading down the aisle for Mike’s Sprite. I took the third bottle from the front—yeah, I never took the first one of anything—and laid it in the basket as the freezer door slapped shut behind me.
  I kept a tight grip on the handle as I took my time walking toward the far aisle, the anticipation building in my gut. Finally, I rounded the corner, and just as he was every day, Bluebird stood in front of the coffee station, refillable mug in hand and somehow looking more gorgeous than I remembered. My memory never did him justice.  
I didn’t move as he placed his mug beneath the machine’s spout and hit a button, and I knew exactly what he’d get, the same as every morning: a latte with light foam and three sugars, two creamers.
  Today he was dressed in a pair of black slacks, with a white button-down shirt and a midnight-blue tie—always so well put together, from his stylishly tousled dark brown hair, so dark it was almost black, down to his black loafers. A couple of days of stubble covered his usual freshly shaven jaw, and I imagined how it’d feel under my hands as I took either side of his face and pulled him toward mine—
  “Dammit!”  
Bluebird’s curse shook me out of my stupor as my feet managed to move again, and as I got closer, I saw that the usual brown liquid coming out of the machine was a cloudy white instead.
 He let out a frustrated sigh. “Hey, Joe,” he called out to the owner. “Latte machine’s down.”
  “Again?” Joe scratched his jaw and then said, “Sorry about that, Reid. I’ll get someone out to fix it today.”
 “No problem,” Reid replied, dumping out the hot water from his mug into the tray, and hello, I finally had a name to go with the face: Reid. How was it I’d gone so long without knowing?
  I pulled out a couple of large disposable cups from the rack and reached for the coffee pot at the same time as Reid, our fingers brushing each other ever so slightly before we both jerked back. His touch shot through me like an electric jolt to my heart, and the surprise that lit his eyes told me I wasn’t the only one affected. 
  “Sorry,” he said, and then cleared his throat. “Damn static.”
 That wasn’t static, I thought, but I wasn’t about to enlighten him, so instead I gestured to the almost empty coffee pot. “No problem. Go for it.”
 “Oh…uh…” He glanced at how little was left and shook his head. “That’s okay. You were first.”
  “Nah, go ahead. Something tells me you need it more than I do.”
 “You sure?” Reid asked, his forehead creased like he didn’t want to impose, but I wouldn’t have minded him taking the last of the coffee every day, so long as those dark chocolate eyes of his stayed on me.
 “I insist,” I said, and then leaned in to whisper conspiratorially, “Besides, I know where Joe keeps the spares. I’ll just make another pot.”
 A grateful smile lifted his lips. “Thanks.” Then he poured himself a full mug of coffee and scratched his jaw as he said, “Ever have one of those mornings?” 
  “All the time.”  
Reid looked up at me, and then his eyes shifted down to my name and title patched in on my uniform. Oliver McFadden. Paramedic. “Yeah, of course you do. Paramedic, huh? I don’t know how you do it.”
 “Helps that we can filter caffeine through IVs for a quicker hit on bad days.”
 He laughed as he ripped open three sugar packets and dumped them into his drink. “I think I’m in the wrong field.”  
“What is it you do?”
 “I teach music education at Castle Hill.”
 “Middle schoolers?” I whistled. “I think I’ll stick with my job.”
 “I wouldn’t blame you some days. They’re mostly a good group, but man, there’s a few whose mission is to run off the new teachers.”
  “And you’re one of the new ones?”  
“Four months running.” He tossed the empty packets into the trash and then held his hand out to me. “I’m Reid, by the way.”
 I stared at his hand for a couple of heartbeats before taking it in mine. His long fingers were cool to the touch, unlike my perpetually hot ones. It could be negative fifty outside, and my hands would still be warm. “Ollie,” I said, and then shook my head slightly. “Well, Oliver, but everyone calls me Ollie.”
 “Ollie,” Reid repeated, still shaking my hand. “I’ve never met an Ollie before.”
  “Mom was a big fan of Laurel and Hardy. I’m just glad she didn’t go with Stan.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized that was an unnecessary reference because he probably had no idea who the hell Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were, but Reid surprised the hell out of me by laughing.  
“Your mom has good taste. I used to watch their stuff at my nan’s,” he said, and then let go of my hand. 
  I missed the contact immediately. 
  Before I could respond, Joe’s gnarled fingers clamped down on my arm as he hobbled in between us and hit the side of the latte machine with his cane.  
“I don’t think it’ll respond to a beat-down, Joe,” Reid said, as he stirred two creamers into his coffee.
  “Worked once before. By George, I’ll do it again.”  
As Joe whacked at the machine, Reid shook his head at the stubborn man. Then he capped his mug and smiled at me. “Thanks again, Ollie. I owe you one.”
 “Anytime,” I said, and meant it. “Hope your morning improves.”
 “I’m counting on it. Bye, Joe. I’ll leave the money on the counter.”  
Joe grumbled what sounded like a goodbye and kept fiddling with the latte machine as I rinsed out the coffee pot and started up a fresh brew.  
Two steaming mugs and a bag full of apple fritters later and I was climbing back into Big Bertha, still reeling from my run-in with Reid. It was so unlike me to moon over a guy, for fuck’s sake, but there was something about him that had caught my attention from day one and never let go. Today’s encounter had only served to pique my curiosity. I’d always thought him older, maybe mid- to late twenties, but he said he’d only been at Castle Hill for four months. Maybe that meant he was fresh out of college? Or could be he’d relocated from somewhere. Definitely somewhere still in the South, since he seemed to have the manner of someone who’d grown up with parents who drilled in the Yes, sirs and No, thank you, ma’ams so telling of this part of the country, though his accent didn’t betray much of a twang. 
 “That has got to be the biggest, dumbest grin I’ve ever seen on your ugly mug,” Mike said, staring at me like I’d grown two heads. “Did you finally do it? Did you ask him out?”
I tossed the bag of fritters and soda into Mike’s lap. “Feel free to choke on those.” “Ahh, I’m gonna take that as a yes, then. He shoot you down?”  
After setting the coffees in the console, I fastened my seatbelt and waited for Mike to get the hint we needed to get moving.  
“The hell, man?” he said. “You gonna leave me hangin’?”
 I arched my brow in his direction, and when I didn’t say anything, he gave a grunt and started up the rig. 
 “One of these days, Ollie,” he grumbled, pulling out of the gas station. “You know all my personal shit. See if I spill my guts anymore.”  
“You wouldn’t know what to do if you couldn’t talk about Deb twenty-four seven.” “Hey, it’s not my fault I scored a good one. Just letting everyone know what they’re missing out on.” As Mike slowed down behind traffic, he glanced over at me and waggled his black eyebrows. 
  “Make sure to do us a favor and hand out barf bags the next time you get started.” I nodded at the bag of pastries in his lap. “And don’t tell Deb I’m doin’ a horrible job of keeping you accountable.”
  “Nah, she likes my love handles.”  
“Bullshit.”
 He laughed and tore into the bag of fritters with one hand, while keeping his other on the wheel. When he’d made me swear last week that I’d keep him on track while he “cut the crap,” I’d thought he was nuts. Even with an extra twenty pounds on his strong six-foot build, Mike was as attractive as ever. Black, close-cropped curls, a permanent tan, and dimples that only seemed to have deepened the past few months. 
  The hot ones are always straight. At least they are in Floyd Hills, Georgia, I thought, my mind drifting back to the man I always made sure to run into during the workweek. And yeah, I got that straight vibe from Reid too, though even he couldn’t deny the spark that had ignited when our hands had brushed against each other. That wasn’t enough to hang any hope on, though, much as I wanted to. 
  “His name’s Reid,” I said, breaking up the quiet in the cab, and when Mike’s head jerked in my direction, a fritter half shoved in his mouth, I was unable to keep the smirk off my face anymore. “Teaches music at the middle school.”
  As I casually sipped my coffee, Mike’s jaw practically hit the ground. “No shit.” A horn sounded from behind us, and Mike stepped on the gas, shaking his head. “About damn time. What else did you talk about?”  
“Nothing. Joe came over to give the coffee machine a concussion, and that was the end of that.”
  “Dammit, Joe. Way to cock-block.”
 “Nah, he didn’t know.”  
“Well, you have an opening now,” Mike said, winking at me. “And that was only a pun if you want it to be.”
 “Oh, Jesus. I’ve done it now.”
 “What?” “Created a monster who uses puns against me.”  
Mike laughed as I flipped on the radio to drown out any other comments his sugar high wanted to lob out, but when Bing Crosby began to croon about a winter wonderland, Mike groaned and jabbed at the buttons to change the channel.
 “I can’t believe they’re still blasting Christmas music in January. Didn’t they get the memo that Santa Claus already came to town, and all he brought me was a damn snow blower? When the hell am I gonna use a snow blower around here? I think my in-laws called in a favor.”  
Chuckling, I brought my coffee up to my lips and blew softly, while Mike continued to flip through the stations until a country song began to play. He started to sing along, something about naming babies and dogs, which would normally have me eye-rolling him to death. But since his mouth was now otherwise occupied and he wasn’t digging for more information out of me, I didn’t bother putting up a fight to change the channel. Let him belt out “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” for all I cared. Until a call came in, my mind would be preoccupied by…other things.  
A quick tone alert came through the radio, and I punched the music off as a call came through from dispatch.  
“Unit 110, please respond Code 3 to the intersection of Mercer and Thomas on a multi-vehicle accident with injuries. Fire responding for possible extrication.”  
I picked up the receiver. “Ten-four, Unit 110 en route. ETA less than two minutes,” I said, as Mike dropped the plastic bag on the ground at my feet and flipped on the lights and siren.  
“Not how I’d want my day starting out,” he said, cutting through an intersection to make a left on Mercer.  
“Saddle up,” I said. “I have a feeling it’s gonna be a long one.”  
Traffic going east was already beginning to back up, the roads congested at the height of morning rush hour. Now with the accident up ahead and the cars unable to move to the side, Mike had to pull us into the suicide lane to get by. From the opposite direction, a backup unit, along with two police cars and a fire truck, veered toward the intersection, though it looked like we’d get there first.  
I could see the smoke rising up ahead, and as we got closer, it seemed to be coming from beneath the hood of a black four-by-four truck that had smashed into a—  
“Oh shit… Ollie…” Mike’s voice trailed off as we both caught sight of the crushed passenger side of the car that had been T-boned. The crumpled car had been no match for the bigger vehicle; it looked like they’d skidded into the middle of the intersection during impact. The car’s hood punched up at an awkward angle with the truck half inside, and broken glass littered the road. 
 I’d seen the sight so many times before, but never had the breath left my lungs in a rush, never had a faint ringing sound filled my ears, and never had a wild sense of panic seized my chest like it did right then.  
Because the mangled car, the one I was responding to, was none other than Reid’s bright red Mazda3.


  ForgetMeNot-AN

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Book two, Remember Me When, will be released on February 26th, 2018.
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About Brooke
Brooke Blaine is a USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary romance that ranges from comedy to suspense to erotic. The latter has scarred her conservative Southern family for life, bless their hearts. If you’d like to get in touch with her, she’s easy to find - just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone that’s dominated her cell phone for years. Or you can reach her at

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